22. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

[Omitted here are items unrelated to the Horn of Africa.]

6. Somali-Ethiopian Tensions: We are keeping close track of the fast-moving events on Somalia’s frontier with Ethiopia. Our most recent intelligence indicates that the possibility of armed conflict between the two nations has increased in the past 48 hours. Ogaden insurgents, supported by Somali irregulars, are attacking a chain of key Ethiopian military posts and, unless reinforcements are sent immediately these posts will fall. We believe Siad may be tempted to intervene with his regular forces to secure the insurgent gains.

[less than 1 line not declassified] July 12,2 a general Somali mobilization is underway, and at least one of the three Somali army divisions is enroute to an assembly point on the frontier. It is likely that the other two divisions are also on alert and enroute to the frontier. We have no indications that any of the divisions have crossed the frontier. The Ethiopian army is badly outnumbered in the Ogaden; half of the [Page 57] Ethiopian army is in Eritrea. Morale is not high.3 A generally reliable clandestine source reports growing concern with the Ethiopian high command about a possible revolt by Ethiopian military units in Eritrea that might spread to the units in the Ogaden.

[Omitted here are items unrelated to the Horn of Africa]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Plains File, Subject File, Box 12, State Department Evening Reports, 7/77. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum and wrote “Cy—” in the upper right corner.
  2. Not found.
  3. In telegram 4172 from Addis Ababa, July 7, the Embassy reported on the state of the Ethiopian army. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770241–0314)